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  • Vic needs heatwave plan: auditor-general

    Author: AAP

As the temperature heats up, Victorian Auditor-General John Doyle says the state urgently needs an emergency heatwave plan.

More people died during Victoria's 2009 heatwave than the Black Saturday bushfires, but the state still does not have a heatwave plan.

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Victorian Auditor-General John Doyle says the state's heatwave management is inadequate and needs to be urgently addressed before the 2014-15 summer season.

His report found there were 374 additional deaths in Victoria during the 2009 heatwave, compared to the 173 deaths during the Black Saturday bushfires the following week.

An extra 167 deaths occurred during the January 2014 heatwave.

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Mr Doyle has made eight recommendations including a state-level emergency plan for heatwaves, in the report tabled in parliament on Tuesday.

"There needs to be a greater clarity around roles and responsibilities in the management of heatwaves," Mr Doyle said.

"There is a lack of clear and effective leadership to provide a co-ordinated multi-agency approach to the state's management of heatwaves."

Mr Doyle said the duration and severity of heatwaves was predicted to rise, while the state's ageing population and the growing incidence of chronic disease made it vulnerable.

Other recommendations include ensuring hospital infrastructure such as air conditioners and emergency generators can cope during heatwaves, improving public awareness and education about heatwaves and implementing a phased approach to heat health alert warnings.

Health Minister David Davis said the excess deaths recorded this year were an improvement on previous heatwave periods, a sign that heatwave warnings were paying off.

"Preparation for the heatwave in Victoria this year has been long underway when Victoria's chief health officer issued the first heat health alert of the year on January 9," Mr Davis said on Monday after a health department review of the latest heatwave deaths.

Copyright AAP 2014

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